Woburn Abbey Today

Your Guide to Woburn Abbey

Woburn Abbey first opened to the public in 1955 and has welcomed visitors from all over the globe. There are 22 rooms that you can experience, which house one of the most significant private art collections in the world.

As you explore the many individual rooms of Woburn Abbey, you will also discover 18th Century French and English furniture, magnificent silver and gold collections, in the underground vaults, and a marvellous range of porcelain and many privately collected items treasured by generations of the Russell family.

These captivating rooms and fascinating antiques show a personal side to a public family that has been instrumental in many significant periods of English history.  


Image for Woburn Abbey Today The 15th Duke and Duchess of Bedford

400 years of history

The Abbey has been the home of the Earls and Dukes of Bedford, one of England's most powerful families, since the 1620's. It is currently the home of the 15th Duke and Duchess of Bedford and their children. Russell family members have included Prime Ministers, Ambassadors, Lord High Admirals and philosophers over the centuries and provide a direct link to the events of the past that shaped the England of today. 

> Our Family Tree


Image for Woburn Abbey Today One of our views of Venice by Canaletto

Over 250 works of art

View one of the most outstanding collections of art works on public display. These include:

  • The largest private collection of Venetian views painted by Canaletto on public view
  • The Armada Portrait of Queen Elizabeth I
  • Artists such as Gainsborough, Rembrandt, Reynolds, and Van Dyck
  • Artworks by Queen Victoria and Richard Stone

> Art and the Collection


Image for Woburn Abbey Today The Grotto

22 Rooms To Discover

The splendid rooms include:

  • The unique Grotto which dates from the 1630s
  • The State Apartments with original 18th century architecture
  • The Holland Library which is one of the largest private libraries with an extensive collection of natural history books
  • Underground vaults housing the family's gold and silver collection
  • The Chinese Room with its decorative wallpaper

> Must See Treasures


Image for Woburn Abbey Today Woburn Abbey is an example of Palladian architecture

At The Heart of an English Palladian Home

The Abbey has been at the centre of social and political history which includes tales of political reform, Royal State visits, imprisonment, beheading, grand tours, love affairs and more. Famous house guests have included monarchs, politicians, leading naturalists, famous designers, architects and adventurers. 

> Our Timeline


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Events & Exhibitions

Image for Come and Grow: First Saturday of each month

Come and Grow: First Saturday of each month

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Woburn Abbey Gardeners are on hand to discuss and demonstrate gardening skills at this month's Come and Grow.
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Family Day: First Sunday of each month

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Spend some quality family time in Woburn Abbey Gardens and let the children explore and get creative.
Image for Peeling Back The Years: Chinese Wallpaper at Woburn Abbey

Peeling Back The Years: Chinese Wallpaper at Woburn Abbey

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See how the wallpapers at Woburn illustrate the changing style of Chinese wallpapers, and explore how they were made, sold and hung.
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Seasonal Reflections at Woburn by Artist in Residence Richard Hoare

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A cycle of seasons at Woburn is reflected in the ink drawings of Woburn Abbey’s First Artist in Residence, Richard Hoare.
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Celebrating 800 years of the Magna Carta

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Join us and celebrate the 800th anniversary of Magna Carta by following in the footsteps of the Russell family who helped pave the way for the rights we enjoy today. Free trail at Woburn Abbey.
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Père David's Deer: From Beijing to Woburn and Back

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Celebrate the historic return of Père David's Deer to China. 30 years ago 18 deer from the Woburn herd were reintroduced into their native China. The herd has grown to the thousands. Learn their fascinating story. Located in the grounds of the Abbey in North Court.
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Woburn Abbey Garden Show 2015

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Whether you are a gardening expert, handy with a trowel or never potted a plant before, all are welcome at ‘The Gardener’s Garden Show’, back for its sixth year in 2015.
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Introduction to Garden Photography

A great opportunity to learn the basics of digital photography
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Pantaloons Open-Air Theatre : Pride and Prejudice

A wonderfully innovative, funny and fast-paced new open air production from the Pantaloons.
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Woburn Abbey Gardens Tour and Lunch

Enjoy the splendour of the Woburn Abbey Gardens through the seasons with our 2015 private garden tours and lunches at The Sculpture Gallery.
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Bug Walk

Discover the importance of attracting bugs to your garden and, more importantly, how to attract them.
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Bee Walk

Discover the importance of attracting bees to your garden and, more importantly, how to attract them.
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Pantaloons Open-Air Theatre : Much Ado About Nothing

Hilarious open-air theatre with the summer comedy of masks, music and mistaken identities!
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The International Moth Rally

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One of the most popular heritage events in the summer calendar, The International Moth Rally, is returning to Woburn Abbey again this August.
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tri for life triathlon powered by Prezzo

We're pleased to be welcoming the tri For life charity triathlon back to Woburn Abbey in 2015.
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Humphry Repton Study Day

Take an in-depth look at the career of Humphry Repton and what made him such a remarkable landscape gardener.
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Planning Your Garden

Discover the horticultural skills needed to prepare a site. Try planting to a site plan with correct spacing and positioning.
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Showbus – ‘The World’s Biggest Bus Display’

Upto 500 buses form the world's biggest bus and coach display with vehicles spanning the last 100 years.
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Planting & Composting in Your Garden

Learn how to identify different types of plant and the situations that suit them. Draw up your own scale plan for a border. Our gardeners will guide you through the process of making a leaf mould and discuss techniques you can use at home.
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Bat Walks

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Take an exclusive tour of the Woburn Abbey Gardens at night and learn about the nocturnal activities of the bats living in the gardens.
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Pruning Study Day

Explore basic pruning, pruning for shape and technical pruning skills
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Off Road Deer Park Tours

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Join the Deer Keepers for a 1.5 hour tour of the Woburn Abbey Deer Park where you will able to get up close to the beautiful deer.
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Propagation Study Day

Investigate various propagation techniques
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NSPCC Luxury Gift Fair

The NSPCC Luxury Gift Fair is an annual event and a highlight of the Woburn calendar.
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Trees & Shrubs Study Day

Find out about the different requirements of a variety of trees and shrubs. Discover which would best suit your garden.
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Luminaries Woburnensis

Illuminating the Abbey Gardens after dark, an evening of enchantment and adventure featuring light, fire and ice.
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Introduction to Night Photography

A great opportunity to learn the basics of digital photography at night.
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A Touch of West End

Woburn's Sculpture Gallery is delighted to welcome back A Touch of West End this December for a fabulous evening of fine dining and musical entertainment.